In a moment of daydreaming the other day, the image of a birthday party came across my mind. It was a family event, celebrating the birthday of a younger member who had reached the ripe old age of 10. (We all remember that excitement, when, at last, we arrive in the “2 digit” years.) Family members of different backgrounds and generations surround the “birthday child” wishing him/her well, full of pride, joy, and expectations for a long and healthy life. Songs are sung, laughs are laughed, cake is eaten, memories of preceding years are shared, and future milestones are anticipated.

Now that I think about it, this was probably a “projection” daydream, as I eagerly await the launch of Rush Hour’s 10th concert season in a few weeks! The parallels are striking to me: Rush Hour is moving out of the single digits. It is surrounded at the birthday celebration by a large and diverse group of well-wishers, all of whom have had some stake in Rush Hour’s ability to arrive at this auspicious age of 10!

First comes our artist roster–each member responsible for bringing truly great music to life each week for three summer months of the last 10 years, sharing their art and themselves in weekly conversation with our audiences. Then, there’s the talented author of our weekly program notes, placing each concert in context for the veteran concertgoer and first-timer alike. Next, our board of directors, guiding the growth of Rush Hour, creating its infrastructure and stability, followed by our advisory committee of artists and community leaders, generously making themselves available as Rush Hour grows. The group continues: Chicago community foundations who have invested in us from the beginning…our indefatigable staff, working tirelessly year round to produce Rush Hour in the way our audiences have come to know and love. And of course, our audience members, whose engaged listening continues to play a vital role in the weekly “live concert experience,” and whose generous support keeps Rush Hour free and open to all, year in and year out.

Each person in this celebratory group shares a few particular characteristics: each values great music and the role it plays in human lives of any age. And each lives out a personal understanding of the maxim, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” This is the story of Rush Hour.

Thank you to all of its parts! Let the celebration begin on June 2 with the music of Mozart (his serenade for thirteen winds, made famous by the movie, “Amadeus”).

I look forward to greeting each of you all summer long!

– Deborah Sobol
Artistic Director

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